Ballot Box

Trump opens new round in battle with RNC

GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump ramped up his attacks on the Republican National Committee Thursday evening, penning an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal criticizing the Colorado delegate process and accusing party leaders of "canceling the vote."

"Colorado had an 'election' without voters," Trump wrote. "Delegates were chosen on behalf of a presidential nominee, yet the people of Colorado were not able to cast their ballots to say which nominee they preferred."

Trump hasn't been silent since rival Ted Cruz shut him out from earning any of the 34 delegates in Colorado, calling the party's system a "scam" and a "disgrace."

In the op-ed, Trump accused "political insiders" of canceling the vote in Colorado and muting the voices of voters.

"Responsible leaders should be shocked by the idea that party officials can simply cancel elections in America if they don't like what the voters may decide," Trump wrote.

The RNC was swift with a response Friday morning defending the delegate processes, which are left up to state parties and were finalized by Oct. 1 of last year.

"These plans were promptly circulated to all of the campaigns and the RNC held a briefing with over 100 members of the media in attendance laying out these plans the next day on Oct. 2," RNC communications director Sean Spicer said in a memo Friday morning. 

"As a party we believe in the freedom of the states to make decisions about how they will select delegates to the National Convention."

"The rules surrounding the delegate selection have been clearly laid out in every state and territory and while each state is different, each process is easy to understand for those willing to learn it," Spicer said. "It ultimately falls on the campaigns to be up to speed on these delegate rules."

Trump's sensitivity to the delegate process comes as Cruz inches toward the front-runner in the delegate count.

Trump still leads with 743 delegates to Cruz's 545, according to The Associated Press delegate tracker, but any forward momentum from the Cruz campaign could make it more difficult for the front-runner to reach the 1,237 necessary delegates before the July convention.

RNC Chair Reince Priebus Friday called Trump's "complaining" a distraction from uniting the GOP.

"I think [Trump's remarks] probably distracts from what we really need to do, which is come together as Republicans, and I know it's hard because we still have a contest," Preibus said on "Today" Friday morning. "But you know, I think it gets distracting and really isn't something that most people give a darn about."

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